2020 IWIM Honoree: Dafni Bika, AstraZeneca

The first IWIM Honoree to ever receive nine nominations, AstraZeneca's Dafni Bika is in a class all by herself.

IWIM 2020 Honoree: Dafni Bika, AstraZeneca

Dr. Dafni Bika, AstraZeneca

We only ask for one well-written nomination to become an Influential Woman in Manufacturing honoree. But for Dafni Bika? We received nine.

A longtime pharma executive, Bika’s leadership has clearly left an impact on a wide swath of industry professionals. With more than 25 years of experience in pharma, Bika is currently senior vice president and Global Head of Pharmaceutical Technology and Development at AstraZeneca, where she leads a global network of more than 1,200 scientists and researchers who design, develop and commercialize new products and provide value across the product life cycle.

Prior to this role, Bika, who holds a PhD in materials sciences and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, worked at Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS), Merck and Procter & Gamble in Brussels.

What is it about Bika that compelled so many women to nominate her for an IWIM award? Here’s some of what her nominators had to say:

She creates long-lasting change

“One of Dafni’s biggest accomplishments at BMS was creating a Product Robustness Program that was focused on better understanding and control of the variables and parameters in manufacturing of our medicines with the goal of improving quality, increasing yields and decreasing investigations and recalls. She initiated this program, which was one of the first of its kind in pharma, and shared it with others across the industry even writing a cover article for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. Many years after she left the company, the initiative is still in place with over 60 scientists supporting it across the company. It also receives high visibility from top management who receive monthly dashboard updates and is always one of the top objectives in our overall development and manufacturing organization (over 2,000 people).”

She is a quality champion

“As head of Quality I can emphasize the impact Dafni has had on the quality culture of her organization. She is a quality champion and has driven a much stronger relationship between quality and process development that drives a right-first-time culture in her organization. This has driven a much stronger focus on continuous improvement and root cause investigation which has resulted in an ever-decreasing deviation rate.”

She gets it done

“Over the last five years, Dafni has successfully overseen the launch of 10 new medicines into global markets while enhancing the manufacturing robustness of the established product portfolio. Much of this was accomplished through very strong collaboration with research and commercial organizations. And she has increased the technical acumen of the overall manufacturing organization which serves to ensure the ongoing reliable supply of our medicine. She is an outstanding leader and trusted partner.”

She is an effective mentor

“Since joining this role, Dafni has developed fresh organizational structures, developed talent and set an agenda which has modernized the operating model for her function. This has led to creating and defining strategies to develop and evolve an organization of circa 1300 employees with leadership from the top. Her successes to date include driving a true capability and organization build, developing the careers of others and energizing a high-performing team around her, leading change and enabling greater engagement and productivity within the organization.

Dafni remains a true leader who can set vision, energize organizations around core ambitions and the mobilize and deliver strategic change across people, processes and systems for the greater good.”

Find out what Bika and her fellow 2020 Honorees had to say to the next generation of women in manufacturing. Download your copy of the 2020 Influential Women in Manufacturing E-Book.